Soft Target

Soft Target

3.5 67
by Stephen Hunter
     
 

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Another action-packed thriller from Stephen Hunter, this time starring Ray Cruz, the son of ex-Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, who was introduced in Hunter’s previous bestseller, Dead Zero.

Ten thousand people jam the aisles, the corridors, the elevators, and the escalators of America, the Mall—a giant Rubik’s Cube of a structure with its

Overview

Another action-packed thriller from Stephen Hunter, this time starring Ray Cruz, the son of ex-Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, who was introduced in Hunter’s previous bestseller, Dead Zero.

Ten thousand people jam the aisles, the corridors, the elevators, and the escalators of America, the Mall—a giant Rubik’s Cube of a structure with its own amusement park located in the spacious center atrium. Of those people, 9,988 have come to shop. The other twelve have come to kill.

Ray Cruz, one of the heroes of Hunter’s last bestseller, Dead Zero, is in the mall with his fiancée and her family. The retired Marine sniper thought he was done with stalking and killing—but among the trapped thousands, he’s the only one with a plan and the guts to confront the self-proclaimed “Brigade Mumbai.” Now all he needs is a gun.

Editorial Reviews

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
One of the Best Books of 2012
From the Publisher
“Stephen Hunter spent years reviewing movies for The Washington Post. That work gave him a keen sense of pacing and timing. The evidence shows up in Soft Target, which unrolls a complicated and grabby plot in just 256 tense pages. And Hunter packs in a surprise with the identity and motive of the individual behind the terrorist attack.”St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Hunter’s writing is sharp, detailed and laced with enough offhand wit to keep readers from sinking into the general gore and Islam-bashing. . . . Hunter has produced a fast, gratifying read.”The Houston Chronicle

“A solid addition to Stephen Hunter’s sniper series, made more engaging by its invocation of current events and political posturing. I join his other fans in hoping he has another one already in the works.”The Washington Times

“Stephen Hunter didn’t invent the high-action thriller. But, as he once again demonstrates in the lightning-paced Soft Target, he might as well have. . . . Soft Target is Die Hard with a brain and a plan. A lean, action-packed tale that begs to be read in a single sitting.”The Providence Journal

“Fast-paced…fearsome.”Publishers Weekly

“Combining elements of the locked-room mystery, the disaster novel, and the lock-and-load thriller, Hunter produces a remarkably gripping tale, building character (the captives, the bureaucrats, and the “terrorists” all get compelling backstories) every bit as convincingly as he drives the narrative to its High Noon–style finale.”Booklist (starred review)

“Any thriller in which Middle Eastern terrorists whack Santa on the first page is bound to be exciting. As always, Hunter has crafted a fast-paced and all-too-plausible telling of our worst nightmares coming true. Ray Cruz is a worthy successor to Swagger. Hunter’s fans, along with new readers, will enjoy the violent battle between Cruz and the bad guys.”Library Journal

“Black Friday [is] on the cusp of becoming blood-soaked Friday. . . . Among the shoppers, albeit reluctantly, is Ray Cruz, a retired marine sniper, son of the iconic marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, whose valorous exploits Hunter has richly detailed (Dead Zero, 2010, etc.). . . . Snipers and SWAT teams gather, but only one man is in an advantageous tactical position, behind enemy lines, as it were. Only one man, but he’s Bob Lee Swagger’s son, and what a good thing it is that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.”Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Former Marine sniper Ray Cruz, the 42-year-old half-Asian son of Bob Lee Swagger, who was introduced in 2010’s Dead Zero, plays a central role in Hunter’s fast-paced thriller. The Friday after Thanksgiving, terrorists begin their attack on America, the Mall, a huge shopping complex outside Minneapolis, by shooting dead the man playing Santa Claus. The terrorists manage to lock down the mall using sophisticated technology and drive more than 1,000 frenzied shoppers into a central holding area. Among those trapped on upper levels are Cruz and Lavelva Oates, a child care worker. Douglas Obobo, the head of the Minnesota State Police, who was born the “son of a Kenyan graduate student at Harvard and a Radcliffe anthropology major,” wants to avoid violence, while Mike Jefferson, the “rogue state police commander” who leads the SWAT team, pushes an aggressive assault plan. As this straightforward adventure tale builds to its fearsome climax, it’s the actions of Cruz and Oates to thwart the terrorists that captivate. (Dec.)
Kirkus Reviews
In Hunter's latest, someone shoots Santa Claus and suddenly 1,000 holiday shoppers are converted into hostages. In Bloomington, Minn., Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving which, for retailers, is both a blessing and a curse, is on the cusp of becoming blood-soaked Friday. With a 4-year-old sitting in his lap, Santa has taken a sniper's bullet and gone to meet his maker. Instantly, America, the Mall, that huge and opulent shoppers' Mecca, turns chaotic. Terrified people race not for bargains but for exits, desperate to escape a follow-up fusillade. Many are fortunate enough to break free. About 1,000, however--mostly women and children--are herded into a central area by gunmen calling themselves the Brigade Mumbai. Heavily armed and avowedly vengeful--the death of Osama besmirches jihadists everywhere--they are as eager for martyrdom as they are for murder. Among the shoppers, albeit reluctantly, is Ray Cruz, a retired marine sniper, son of the iconic marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, whose valorous exploits Hunter has richly detailed (Dead Zero, 2010, etc.). Sweet-talked by his brand new fiancée, Ray has ventured into mall world as tentatively as if it were an Afghan minefield. But now, circumstances having altered drastically, he's back in his element, undercover and looking for targets. Brigade Mumbai puts forward its demands. The situation intensifies, approaches the tipping point. By this time it's clearly understood by the authorities that they're dealing with a suicide mission and the potential for a horrific massacre. Snipers and SWAT teams gather, but only one man is in an advantageous tactical position, behind enemy lines, as it were. Only one man, but he's Bob Lee Swagger's son, and what a good thing it is that the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree. A too-abundant cast dilutes the protagonist's presence, but the action scenes are well done as usual and the premise chills.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439138717
Publisher:
Pocket Books
Publication date:
09/25/2012
Series:
Ray Cruz Series
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
265,914
Product dimensions:
4.30(w) x 6.58(h) x 0.98(d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Hunter has written eighteen novels. The retired chief film critic for The Washington Post, where he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism, he has also published two collections of film criticism and a nonfiction work, American Gunfight. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Soft Target 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
Mikeeman More than 1 year ago
Extreme characters (on both sides of the law) that are meant to stir your emotions in an over the top plot that tests the readers patience in this predictable yarn. Saying that first, it is a fun , escapist read in seeing how the author will resolve what he set up to be an unresolvable situation. He semi-succeeds but in an unsatisying and unsatisfactory way. I hope he soes not plan to bring some of the these flawed characters back.
scorpion56 More than 1 year ago
The plot for "Soft Target" provided the author with an opportunity to develop a nice story, but instead it turned out to be predictable, sophomoric and snarky while throughout, not believable. Without giving away the story, all the access doors to the mall are locked and the police are stymied as to how to gain entrance because of this. Has the author ever driven by a mall to see all the glass doors in the anchor stores that available for breaking in? Just an example of how the story never gets you pulled in. As another reviewer mentioned ("Rolling on the Floor"), the thinly veiled comparison of the head of the State Police (Col. Obobo) to someone of a similar name and heritage who lives on Pennsylvania Ave. is sophomoric and silly ...and snarky. Tom Clancy seems to have fallen into this political trap as well with his recent "Locked Down". None of the characters, with the exception of "Our Hero" have two neurons in their brain to rub together, and if they do, they are too self-absorbed to help the poor people in the mall. At only 256 pages, it's a mercifully quick read, but you can do better if you're looking for suspenseful mind candy.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
The author has shown that he can write a thriller, but this one did not have the edge that I expected from reading his previous works. The shopping mall may have been used as something that readers could relate to, but I didn't. The young bad guy has powers well beyond what a spoiled rich kid was likely to accrue, and I just couldn't see a real Iman buying into him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A book made for a paycheck. This book is almost unreadable. It starts off OK but quickly devolves into cliche drival serving up a poorly contructed political statement. It is so sad to see what would appear to be yet another author sell out quality to fulfil his publisher's quantity contract.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love almost everything Stephen Hunter has written but this book almost seems to be written by another person who just happens to be a hack. I'm not a fan of Obama but the character of Obobo is just too heavy handed to enjoy. The characters of the Giradi's could have been a chance at a tragic poignant side story but was turned into groaner of a twist joke. For a Hunter book the action falls way short as does the characterization. There are long stretches where nothing much happens. The main villian is a run of the mill cliched movie villian who just doesn't ring true, I would have preferred a straight Islamic protagonist to the goofy mastermind we're given. And speaking of movies, the use of pop culture references may have been Hunter's attempt at being hip but all it did was remind me how derivative this book was and how much better some of those movies are. I'm very disappointed by this latest work by one of my favorite authors. And while we're at it, Mr. Hunter, please create some all new worlds to explore. As much as I love the Swagger universe it's time for something fresh.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worst book I ever picked up. What a waste, very boring, I skipped entire uninteresting worthless chapters of information about nothing. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY. If I could get a refund I would. Thumbs down minus 5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has no redeeming features.
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Yogasal More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. It was a little scary actually, thinking this could happen. I was on the edge of my seat in so many parts of this book and angry that one of the main characters was such an egotistical jerk.
lawmarine32 More than 1 year ago
Stephen Hunter is truly an amazing author! Soft Target is a well written, exciting and somewhat ironic tale. Cruz is one of the best characters to come along in a long time. I highly recommend this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
What can a top-notch sniper do when he finds himself in a situation without a rifle? That’s what happens to Ray Cruz, just separated from the Marine Corp, finding himself Christmas shopping in America, the Mall with his girlfriend when a band of terrorists takes over 1,000 hostages in a “Holy War.” The answer: Improvise, of course. And that is exactly what he does as the authorities flounder outside and Ray, the sole possible savior inside, takes action in this latest action thriller packed with violence and derring-do. Hostages are shot and demands made. The novel continues the sniper series, which featured Bob Lee Swagger, Ray’s father. It takes a close look at the bureaucratic fumbling and political posturing inherent in those of authority, pitting the public relations pomposity against those who would move forward with forcefulness. The writing and plotting are graphic and concise, with the tale tightly woven to a thrilling finale. Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MTT3107 More than 1 year ago
I read all of Hunter's Bob Lee Swagger novels, and really liked them, so, when I saw this, I expected another good read. Unfortunately this was not so... This novel is really bad, haave to agree with the review by scorpion56... The persona of Obobo is just rediculous, I wonder what got into Hunter, to drive this drivel, after writing some really good books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best i ever read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont see why every one is hating on this book there are a few things that get dragged on but it might have been better for me since i live in minnisota an go to the mall a lot i was able to relate to much of it very good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago